Archive for December 4, 2008

Pink Roses, Peaches and Food

Posted in family, socialization with tags , , on December 4, 2008 by darcyarts

albertasThe woman sitting in the center of this photograph from 1955 or 1956 is named Alberta. She’s sitting beside the woman standing. That’s Kathleen, my grandmother. Kathleen was a fashion plate. She is wearing cat-eye glasses. They may have had rhinestones set in them.

I am the youngest member of this luncheon party.

Clockwise from the curious, wiggly, little-child me,  is my beloved greatgrandma, Marie. Next to her is my grandfather, Harry. Beside Harry, the person connected to the black shoulder, the nose and one side of an eyeglass is his mother, Gertrude. Then Alberta, Kathleen, Harry’s red-headed wife and then Bob, Gertrude’s husband.

The person taking the picture is Alberta’s husband Joe, or Guisepi. He was a pastry chef who worked at Hollywood Park racetrack or was it Santa Anita?. Back in the day they must have had a full kitchen, restaurant or food service.

Alberta was a big woman, very kind, and stoic. She’d experienced alot of pain. You can see it on her face. Once, on a Christmas Eve, before I knew her, she was hit by a drunk driver as she crossed the street. That was in Chicago, I imagine, where she and Joe and Marie, her sister lived. They’d gone up state from Peoria to the big city.

Alberta spent years recovering but afterwards always walked with a strange gait. She wore lovely heavy ladies shoes that looked like they were well made sometime in the ’40s. She had a funny laugh. One of those that when it got started kept going like a car that wheezes and jumps and won’t quite shut off. She grew orangey-pink roses in her back yard, the one above, in Lakewood, California. She had a peach tree, too.

I would wander in her little back yard drinking in all the colors and textures and scents of the sweet fruit and flowers. Somehow the memory of the soft rose petals and the soft fuzz on the peaches is melded with the memory of Alberta’s perfumed and powdered, lightly rouged cheeks.

I see that my sister is not yet with us. Colleen, was born a year and a half after me. It must have been very close to the time that my grandparents fetched her from where ever she was being kept after my mother gave her up.

More later. Off to do errands.